A Green Future at Nelson and Colne College

Nelson and Colne College is located in a spectacular part of Pennine Lancashire. We are lucky to be located in a semi-rural location which is surrounded by beautiful green spaces. Our location in this landscape has meant that we have become increasingly conscious of the importance of maintaining a ‘green’ philosophy and led to the development of Sustainability Group in College.

The Sustainability Group

We believe that it is vital to promote a “green” ethos among our students and staff. The College’s Sustainability Group has worked hard to raise awareness of the environmental issues we face, and the whole College has agreed challenging, but achievable goals to reduce our carbon footprint, now and in future years – targets which are already being exceeded. The Sustainability Group is chaired and managed by the Facilities Management team and consists of voluntary representatives from a variety of departments, including staff and students.

The Sustainability Group meets each term and their role is to:

  • Review progress against targets
  • Formulate new ideas for improvements and contribute to the action plan
  • Be ambassadors for sustainability at the College
  • Aid communication across all functions of the College

Projects and Improvements

The College has made significant steps forward with the energy action plan and a number of actions have been implemented to reduce the Carbon Footprint including:

  • The installation of a central timer to control the exterior lighting to ensure illumination corresponds with the hours of darkness and building opening hour
  • The re-arrangement of the teaching timetable to allow sections of the building to be closed down during non-core hours
  • Matching room occupancy levels with the physical size of room to prevent excessive use of lighting and heating
  • A reduction in the number of light fittings
  • Installation of low energy lighting in several areas
  • The installation of plug in timers on the vending machines
  • The installation of computer software to automatically shut down computers at the end of the day
  • Improved control of the air handling units
  • Promotion of a ‘switch off’ campaign
  • Removal of desktop printers
  • Duplex default printing settings
  • The adjustment to heating controls to ensure the building is not heated out of hours
  • Improved management and control of the building management system
  • Improved hot water controls
  • An investigation into gas consumption in the kitchen facilities
  • The installation of solar panels


  • We continually assess our provision to ensure the range of courses and delivery techniques meets the needs of a changing society, a developing business world and local community demographic.
  • We have an established GAP programme (Gateway for Progression) that offers training, education and experience to students who may otherwise be excluded from mainstream education.
  • Students are taught key skills, such as Maths and English, via practical learning opportunities such as managing the recycling facilities at the College, horticultural projects such as growing vegetables for the catering facilities and plants for the gardens at the College.
  • A joint initiative between the Sustainability Team and the Health and Wellbeing group to promote a ‘cycle to college’ scheme has resulted in the increased number of students and staff using a bicycle to travel to College.

Examples of recent student led initiatives:

  • ‘Switch off’ campaign
  • Promoting paper recycling
  • Reducing printing campaign
  • Healthy eating and wellbeing promotion
  • Better world books recycling
  • Fairtrade promotions

Summer Edition of the Sustainability Newsletter

Welcome to the June 2023 Summer Edition of the College’s Sustainability Newsletter. This will be last edition of the 2022/23 academic year. We will be back with more sustainability news in the next academic year. 

Each term you can find out about what we as a College Group are doing to help in the fight against Climate Change and ways you can get involved too.  

 If you require any more information on anything sustainability related, or you are interested in joining the Sustainability Group (either staff or student), please email sustainability@nelsongroup.ac.uk 


Let’s do our part in reducing the emission of greenhouse gases by doing simple things and it will surely help our earth to combat the Climate Change effects. 

Emails and Their Energy Consumption 

Although cloud computing uses less energy than using internal storage we still need to look at how much storage we are using.  In this issue we are going to look at how we use emails and how we can try to reduce how much cloud storage we are utilising. 

Sending or receiving an email utilises energy while typing the email (power utilized by device), while sending it over the internet, while it gets stored in the database and of course while you read that email in your device.     

Gopalakrishnan Ravichandran research engineer on sustainability and carbon footprint tries to get us to understand this concept with the following data: An email with a large attachment emits approximately 50 grams of CO2e (Carbon dioxide equivalent) while a text email emits 4 grams of CO2e to the environment [2][3]    

Suppose you send or receive 10 emails everyday which include 5 emails with attachment and 5 without attachment (assumption), we can calculate the CO2e as follows…   

Emails without attachment = 5 * 4g = 20 g CO2 

Emails with attachment = 5 * 50g = 250 g CO2e  

According to the recent survey from Carleton University [4], a business user receives and send around 121 emails per day. With this data, a business user emits around 1.6 kg CO2e which is equivalent to approximately 410 to 600 kg CO2e per year.   

To understand this even better, let’s consider the CO2e emission from our cars. A diesel car emits 2.5 kg CO2e per km. So, a business email users CO2e is equal to driving 164 km to 240 km (imagine how big is this!).   

The numbers may look small while considering a single individual. Just try to imagine how big these numbers if billions of emails sent every year by billion people.   

In a recent article by the Guardian, about a new study commissioned by energy company OVO, they write that it is estimated that, in the UK, we send more than 64m unnecessary emails every day, and that if every adult in the UK sent one fewer “thank you” email a day we would save more than 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year – equivalent to 81,152 flights to Madrid or taking 3,334 diesel cars off the road, so let’s do our bit! 


Terracycle Update 

Since the last the newsletter the sustainability group has recruited a number of student volunteers to help process the recycling that is collected across the college. If you would like to get involved please contact us 

Just before the half-term we sent our first shipment of 2023 to Terracycle. The college has recycled over 500 Kg of waste products within the last 2 years using the terracycle recycling schemes. 

Keep up the good work! 


The college has been supporting Plantlife’s annual #NoMowMay campaign by not mowing some areas at our Nelson and Accrington campuses – liberating our green spaces and providing a space for nature. 

Since the 1970s, the UK has lost approximately 97% of its flower-rich meadows, along with the essential food that pollinators like bees and butterflies need to survive. 

Even the smallest grassy patch can deliver enormous gains for nature, communities and the climate. 

The sustainability group has also been helping Pendle Education Trust with their #NoMowMay campaign by donating some signage for their green spaces. 

– “Pardon the Weeds, We are feeding the Bees.” 


Undergraduate Courses 

The College’s University Centre in partnership with Liverpool John Moore’s University are launching a number of new full-time or part-time Undergraduate Programmes from September. It’s the first in the country to address the practical application of sustainable technologies in today’s workforce – that is how to green up employment without going bankrupt in the process – rather than just the science of the sustainable technologies themselves. 

The focus of these courses is the application of technology rather than it’s design. That means these courses sit between Business and Engineering. 

Full details of the courses and entry requirements can be found here. There is also a pdf attachment to this newsletter with further information. 

You may be aware that the sustainability group has been getting social recently. We are now on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram. Twitter and TikTok. 

We also have an external website for the local community www.pendlerecyclinghub.co.uk. Please like, share and follow us on these platforms to keep updated with all the latest developments. 


Open Menu